The evidence is in: employee experience drives business success. So it’s time to make happiness a business priority.
The recipe for staff happiness is – no surprises – a complex one. You can offer all the free lunches and perks you like, but if your customer service team isn’t feeling generally satisfied and fulfilled in their roles, it won’t matter how many bells and whistles the staff coffee machine has.
It turns out that happiness is good business strategy. With employee experience (EX) increasingly recognised as a key ingredient of CX, how your team feels in their job is not something you can afford to ignore. Afterall, unhappiness infects all those other key performance areas that customer service agents should be focused upon.
For example, unhappy reps might be less inclined to go the extra mile for a customer and give them the kind of experience that really cements brand loyalty. Doing the bare minimum might get the boxes ticked, but it doesn’t create the kind of CX you want your business to be known for.
Unhappy employees also have a way of creating a negative energy among other members of the team, derailing or undermining opportunities for successful brainstorming and collaboration.
And that last thing you want is dissatisfied, stressed-out customer service agents presenting poor impressions to customers – right at the time when customers need to feel valued.
Employee happiness might seem like something too ephemeral and personal for an employer to address. But if you think of it more as building great EX, then it becomes something you can take positive action on.
Here are a few tactics you can use to optimise your work environment and improve EX so customer service agents will feel happier – and stay that way.
Customer service agents are people pleasers by nature, but if they don’t have the means to do it well it call lead to frustration. Providing agents with the tools they need to give comprehensive and high quality CX, makes them prepared and confident. An integrated CRM platform, for instance, gives the rep data they can use to engage effectively with a customer and to anticipate their needs and concerns.
And given customers increasingly demand service across a range of channels, it makes sense to equip your reps with the means to do so. They can then use data to get a better sense of the volumes that come through each of those channels and prioritise their time accordingly.
Sometimes an agent will be stumped by a problem they can’t immediately solve, especially when using advanced new technologies.
Managers - including those in the C-suite - can play a strong role here by establishing policies and processes that will give agents access to the kind of coaching they need, when they need it.
In some cases, a quick debrief after a difficult call could offer an opportunity to demonstrate ways of using the data available to solve a problem quicker next time.
Or, if an agent seems stuck in a rut or slump after a series of challenging customer interactions, use a tune-up session to put them in control of using data more effectively to get back in the groove.
You can also build their confidence by offering them different types of work. Variety is the spice of life and many reps thrive on it. It also prevents boredom and all the issues that can stem from it.
The occasional “well done” is nice to hear, but it takes more than that to make an agent happy. Feedback should be as specific as possible for it to really resonate.
The effect of positive feedback and recognition becomes even more powerful when it's acknowledged publicly within an organisation. Consider your internal channels where you can make this happen – employee email newsletters, intranet blog posts, a note on the staff social media platform.
Customer service reps who are happy and fulfilled in their job don’t appear out of nowhere. They are the ones who feel empowered by their tools and training, are supported to take ownership of their roles and career ambitions, play an active part in the workplace culture, and are appropriately rewarded and recognised. It can take a bit of monitoring and experimenting to figure out what works for your team and what doesn’t – but it’s worth it to create employees who hang out for Monday mornings instead of Friday afternoons.
Want to discover new ways to manage and create happiness in your own service team? Complete the Manage the Salesforce Way on Trailhead.
For more insights on the changing landscape of customer service, read the full State of Service report here.